How To Make The Perfect Pie Crust

Here's how to make a great pie crust from scratch.

What is the first thing we say when asked:  “How’s the pie?”  We always comment on the crust:  “The crust just fell apart and was so flaky and tender.”  That is what every pie baker wants to hear.  And THAT is what scares many people away from making their own pie crust, and possibly their own pies.

I’m here to tell you that the perfect pie crust is EASILY within your reach.  There are probably hundreds of recipes out there to try, but quite honestly, if you have one or two good never-fail recipes, that’s all you need.

Now, we have two camps for pie crusts – butter or shortening.  I’m going to give you one recipe for each.  The reason you want both is because the results are different.  A butter crust tends to be flaky, while a shortening crust tends to be tender.  Is there a big difference?  Let’s just say nobody will turn down a piece of pie in either crust.

It’s totally up to you.  Go ahead and give both of these recipes a try and see what you think.


Flaky Pie Crust Recipe

Tender Pie Crust Recipe


HINT:  If you can’t decide between butter and shortening, guess what – you don’t have to!  You can use both in the same recipe.  Just follow the same procedures but substitute a little butter for the shortening, or vice versa.  You’ll have to adjust a bit for the salt and water, but don’t worry about it too much.  The basics to remember is there is salt in the butter and no salt in the shortening, so adjust the salt accordingly.  Also there is moisture in the butter, but no moisture in the shortening, so adjust the water accordingly.

Now that you have the dough, it’s time to bake. Here are my tips for baking up the perfect pie crust.

how to make homemade pies from scratch starting with the crust

From Pie Dough  To Pie Crust – Baking The Perfect Pie

Now that your pie dough is cold, how do you prepare it?  Here are the basics to easily turn your dough into a crust:

Lightly flour a work surface and your rolling pin with flour.  Keep the flour handy so you can sprinkle more on if the dough starts to stick.

Take out one dough ‘disc’ from refrigerator, remove plastic wrap, and set it on your prepared work surface.

Imagine your dough is divided like a compass – north, south, east, and west.

Starting at the middle of the dough (on the equator), set rolling pin down and gently roll out to the outer edge, heading north.

PICK UP the rolling pin and set it back down in the center of dough and gently roll in the opposite direction, heading south, toward you to the edge.

PICK UP the rolling pin and set it down in the center again, this time either spin the dough or turn the rolling pin, and gently roll out to the east.  Then repeat and roll out to the west.

PICK UP the rolling pin and start all over again; head north, south, east, west, starting each time from the center and always being gentle, coaxing the dough out to form about a 12 inch circle.

You may have to sprinkle a bit more flour on the rolling pin as you go, or on the surface.  Some people like to flip their dough over when they roll it out.  It doesn’t matter really.  Just be sure you are gentle with the dough and do this quickly so the fat (butter or shortening) doesn’t warm up too much.  You want those little cold pieces to remain somewhat intact in the flattened pie pastry.

Repeat this procedure with another dough ball from the refrigerator for each crust you need.

To easily set pastry into pie pan, take your rolling pin and roll the pastry up on the pin, then unroll it onto the top of the pie pan and carefully push it down into the pie pan.  Trim crust if necessary and form your decorative edges by crimping between your thumb and forefinger.

Now all you have to do is add your filling and bake as directed in recipe. Have fun experimenting.  No one will complain about eating your ‘mistakes!’

Ready for more tried-and-true baking recipes? I’ve combined four of my most popular Kindle cookbooks for desserts and baked goods into one bundle for you. This flaky pie crust recipe is from the pie cookbook that’s part of this bundle. Enjoy!

Cookies Cakes & Pies

This is a collection of four of my most popular baking cookbooks. All recipes are easy and fun to make. Bake up some warm and gooey cookies, make a few pies for the holidays, or try your hand at some fun dump and poke cake recipes. You’ll find plenty of ideas for the next bake sale, family gathering, or a homemade treat for the family.

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